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Just Court ADR

The blog of Resolution Systems Institute

Archive for the ‘Training, Skills & Techniques’ Category

Georgia Commission on Dispute Resolution Adopts New Intimate Partner Violence Screening Policy

Nicole Wilmet, November 1st, 2018

In September, the Georgia Commission on Dispute Resolution (“GCDR”) issued a press release announcing their adoption of new Rules for Mediating Cases with Domestic Violence. The new rules come after the GCDR updated their Guidelines for Mediation in Cases Involving Issues of Domestic Violence (which were first adopted in 1994 and amended in 2003 and 2005) to bring the guidelines up-to-date with domestic violence research and ensure that best practices are being used. To assist in their effort to update their guidelines, the GCDR collaborated with the Georgia Commission on Family Violence (“GCFV”) to create a domestic violence working group to spearhead the change to the GCDR guidelines.

Between 2016 and 2018, the working group brought together a wide variety of experts with experience and knowledge in the areas of court ADR, domestic violence, family violence, and mediation to develop the new GCDR rules. During their collaboration, the working group developed four guiding principles for the rules including safety, self-determination, best practices and practical implementation. The first of these two principles require that cases be screened to assess whether mediation can be done safely and free from coercion. The final two principles focus on the design of the rules and require that the rules align with best practices in the field and can be reasonably implemented by local programs.

The GCDR’s new rules will be effective January 1, 2021. Until then, the GCDR and the GCFV will continue to collaborate with each other and plan to support a joint committee to oversee the implementation of the rules, training, review, and revision of the rules. Once the rules are finalized, they will be uploaded to the GCDR website. Additionally, the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution will be developing rules to assist courts in designing appropriate intake procedures and will work with the GCDR to assist courts in developing appropriate screening training for court personnel.

Mediators, Can We Shift Perspectives on the “Blind Men and the Elephant” Story?

Susan M. Yates, August 11th, 2017

I have a problem with a story that we in the conflict resolution field use and I’m hoping we can find a replacement for it. It’s the story about people who are blind encountering an elephant. It’s a metaphor and it’s used to make a point about differing perspectives, but from my perspective it sends a negative message about people who are blind.

If you don’t know the story, the idea is that several people who are blind encounter an elephant and because they each touch a different part of the elephant, they perceive it differently. Someone touches the tail and says an elephant is a rope, someone else touches the trunk and says it is a snake, etc. You get the idea. Only a sighted person – who can see the whole – understands that it is an elephant.

My problem with this story is that it defines people who are visually impaired as inherently limited and lacking in capability. (more…)

Takeaways from a Child Protection Mediator Training

Eric Slepak-Cherney, February 6th, 2017

On January 20-21, RSI put on an advanced two-day training for the mediators in our new Child Protection Mediation Program operating out of Geneva, IL. This training was the culmination of our efforts to put in place a dynamic and collaborative new forum to address child abuse and neglect cases in Illinois’ 16th Judicial Circuit Court. Based on the outcome of the training, I feel confident that our new program will be a huge boon to Kane County, the jurisdiction which the program serves. I also am glad to have taken away some ideas about how to create a better mediator training event, which I get to share with all of you. (more…)

Mediation: A Tool for Self-Reflection?

Ashlee Patterson, December 23rd, 2016

Recently, I attended a panel discussion about ADR and police brutality, which was presented as part of a regular ADR brown bag series sponsored by the Cook County Circuit Court. At a time when police brutality and race relations have been all over the news, this panel discussion was pertinent to me. Not only because of its presence in the news, but also because of its personal significance to me as a member of the African-American community. So I went to the panel, armed with my notebook and pen, ready to take copious notes. My goal: end police brutality with ADR techniques. Spoiler alert: I did not walk away with the key to end police brutality.

(more…)

Considering the Role of Ongoing Relationships in Mediation

Susan M. Yates, November 18th, 2016

“Mediation is especially good for parties with an ongoing relationship.” This is axiomatic when it comes to mediation, right?

This weekend, I had an experience that shed new light on this old idea. I was at a sale of building materials. Although it was advertised as an auction, there were few attendees and so potential buyers simply haggled with the seller’s agent over the price of anything they wanted to purchase. While digging through boxes of tile, I had a front-row seat to the negotiations between the agent and a potential buyer over some marble.

The feints and parries were familiar to anyone who has mediated many cases.

“Well, I don’t know what these would cost,” said the buyer, trying to downplay her expertise and develop sympathy in the agent. But the agent responded, “Don’t try that dumb girl thing on me! I’ve dealt with you before. You are smart and you know what these would cost.”

“Look, I have other buyers who will give me what I am asking,” said the agent, trying to assert a BATNA. But the buyer responded, “Where? I don’t see any other buyers here!”

The agent also tried to make herself seem sympathetic, even powerless, with the plea, “The seller would have my head if I sold them for so little.” But the buyer replied, “You can do whatever you want!”

The potential buyer tried to make a small move look more attractive by changing the format of the offer to a total price, rather than a per piece price. But the agent turned the math back into price per piece.

They went back and forth on numbers with plenty of dramatic gestures and raised voices. Their eventual prices were $240 and $260.

And they both walked away from the deal over a $20 difference!

Why did these two experienced negotiators walk away from the deal? (more…)